Driving increased consumption of vegetables and potatoes, developing more effective businesses and becoming a more resilient industry are the core priorities of AUSVEG’s 2022 Federal Election Priorities.
AUSVEG has published its priority list ahead of the upcoming Federal Election, which highlights opportunities to combine the broader social benefits of eating more vegetables and potatoes with the positive employment and economic benefits that growers generate for their regional communities.
AUSVEG’s 2022 Federal Election Priorities are grouped into nine critical areas that will help improve health benefits for the Australian public, as well as economic benefits for fresh producers and their communities: increasing domestic consumption of Australian vegetables, workforce, regenerative farming, biosecurity, emergency preparedness and prevention, competition and business, international trade, infrastructure and the next generation.
AUSVEG CEO Michael Coote says this list has been the result of extensive consultation from growers and industry associations from every major vegetable production region.
“AUSVEG represents over 3,500 vegetable producers that account for 3.83 million tonnes of vegetable production worth $4.9 billion in farmgate value and over $5 billion in retail value annually – it is one of strongest performers of Australia’s agriculture industry,” he says.
“The production and supply of fresh produce is a truly a national industry that employs over 60,000 workers, not to mention the tens of thousands of additional jobs through the supply chain to process, transport and stock produce.
“AUSVEG’s 2022 Federal Election priority list is endorsed by our state and territory grower associations and reflects a unified vision for the future success of our industry. This includes driving increased demand of Australian vegetables, securing a productive workforce, protecting the future of vegetable production through biosecurity and sustainable growing practices, and futureproofing the industry through upgraded infrastructure and attracting the next generation of skilled people to the industry.
“Our Federal Election asks include a range of issues that will help the industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as help place the industry in the best possible position for the next 5, 10 years and beyond.
“A key ask will be to secure funding for a national behavioural change campaign that will address the trend of declining vegetable consumption, with the average Australian eating around 13 kilograms fewer vegetables per year than 20 years ago – equating to around half a serve per day.
“According to the Fruit & Vegetable Consortium, which comprises members across the health, nutrition and agriculture sectors and has developed a compelling business case to support a behavioural change campaign, an increase vegetable consumption by a serve per day would conservatively generate an increase in industry returns of $1.3 billion per annum shared by all parties along the food supply chain.
“Increasing vegetable consumption will lead to improved health and well-being outcomes that drive reductions in mental and physical health issues, obesity and other illnesses, which will generate as much as $1 billion economic value after 11 years to Australian taxpayers and Governments at all levels. Not only that, but every new job created in the Australian food industry supports an additional job in the regional economy.
“Addressing the issues that are hindering the industry’s future growth now will allow growers to run more efficient and effective businesses and help the vegetable and potato industry to play its role in agriculture reaching its $100 billion target by 2030.”